Sunday Homilies by Fr. Rudolf V. D’ Souza

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Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
June 1, 2008 Year: A
Deut. 10:12-13, 11:18, 26-28, 32; Rom. 1:16-17, 3:20-26, 28; Mt. 7:21-27
God’s Ways

First Reading...
"Moses spoke to the people and said: 'So now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his decrees that I am commanding you today, for your own well-being."
"You shall put these words of mine in your heart and soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and fix them as an emblem on your forehead."
"See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn from the way that I am commanding you today, to follow other gods that you have not known."

"You must diligently observe all the statutes and ordinances that I am setting before you today." [Deut. 10:12-13, 11:18, 26-28, 32]

Second Reading...
"I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, 'The one who is righteous will live by faith.' For 'no human being will be justified in God's sight' by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin."
"But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe."

"For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that God himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus"

"For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law." [Rom. 1:16-17, 3:20-26, 28]

Gospel Reading...
"Jesus went up the mountain with his disciples. He sat down and began to teach them: 'Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?" Then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you: go away from me, you evildoers.'"

'Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell - and great was its fall!'" [Mt. 7:21-27]

The Noida murders of a little girl and the body guard Hemraj have deeply disturbed the peace of millions of parents in India. There is no evidence, yet it is largely confirmed that the parents are involved in this gruesome murder of their own daughter and the person who was suppose to guard them. Yet another story of Maria and Mathew in Bombay recently have shaken the foundations of Christian family values, that killing of Grover and then cutting the victims body into pieces before it is destroyed in our neighbourhood at Manori (Thane District) on 6th May. All these events point to a stark reality that there is evil so near us but we never notice it. All these events point to a deadly stark reality, that is, easy money, easy fame, easy relationships, easy life, and go with anything that is at hand.

In a survey of women it was found that 15 percent of the ladies colored their hair, 38 percent wore a wig, 80 percent wore rouge, 98 percent wore eye shadow, 22 percent wore false eyelashes, 93 percent wore nail polish. And 100 percent voted in favor of a resolution condemning any kind of false packaging!

No one wants to be deceived. But many are deceived. In Matthew 7:21-27 Jesus deals with the most dangerous kind of deception: self-deception. The two categories of self-deception are those of mere verbal profession and of mere intellectual knowledge. The first, described in vv. 21-23, involves those who say without doing, and the second, described in vv. 24-27, involves those who hear without doing.

Let it be remembered that Jesus is not speaking to irreligious people here. He is speaking to people who are devotedly religious, but lost.

The many deceived are those who profess Christ without obeying Him and those who have an intellectual knowledge of Christ without obeying Him. This morning’s text is the invitation which Jesus gave to the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5-7.

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (22) Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” (23) And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (24) Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: (25) and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. (26) But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: (27) and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. (28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, (29) for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Matthew 7:21-29

I. Saying without Doing (False Professors) vv. 21-23
The first group are those who are deceived by their false profession. They say without doing. The emphasis in these verses is what these deceived ones are saying (vv.21 and 22). The startling contrast to what they professed is found in Christ’s profession to them in v. 23, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

One of the amazing things about Jesus’ teaching about the gospel is how far He said individuals can go in religious activities without being a true child of God. The works they do are only external. They are hypocrites who say the right things but do not do them from the heart.

These people even say, “Lord, Lord.” They were sound and orthodox in their theology. They knew of Jesus’ lordship and even gave verbal assent to it, but they reason they were turned away is that they didn’t submit to His lordship by doing the will of the Father (v. 21).

Not only were they sound in their theology they were involved in doing things in Jesus’ name (3 times in v. 22). Preaching, exorcism and miracles are not proofs of true salvation. According to Jesus the only test of the sincerity of our faith in Christ is our obedience to “the will of the Father.”

What causes people to be so deceived? There are several reasons, let me give you four reasons.

1. False Doctrine of Assurance.
They believe (many have been told this by preachers) that just because they walked an aisle, raised a hand, and said a prayer they should never doubt their salvation. This is an unbiblical approach which leads to a second reason of deception . . .

2. Failure of Self-Examination.
In 2 Cor. 13:5 Paul wrote, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” We are to look at the motives and desires of our heart to see if we long for righteousness, even though we sin.

We are not to look for perfection in our lives to see if we are truly Christians, but we are to look at our desires. Does it grieve us when we sin? Do we repent over our sin? Or do we enjoy living in sin? Can we continue to live in sin without any remorse or desire to repent?

The Bible is very clear in 1 Cor. 6:9-10,
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists will inherit the kingdom of God.

Don’t be deceived! If you can live in unrepentant sin, you’re not saved.

3. Religious Activity.
Others are deceived because of their “churchianity” or culture of “churchypeople”. Attending church, hearing sermons, singing hymns, reading the Bible, attending Bible studies, and many other good activities can actually cause you to be more deceived if they make you think you are faithful and obedient when in reality you are not. Just like those in this passage who prophesied, cast out demons and did many wonderful works, but Jesus said “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

4. Balancing Out Approach.
Others are deceived because they think their good deeds will one day “balance out” their bad deeds. So instead of confessing sins and asking for forgiveness, a person may simply try to do good in order to make up for their sins thinking that the positive cancels the negative. In January, 2002 Mike Tyson applied for a boxing license in Nevada. During his hearing, he argued on the scale basis. He said, “I’m not Mother Teresa, but I’m not Charles Manson either.” His application was unsuccessful and license denied.

Whatever the reason for your deception, if all you have is a profession that hasn’t resulted in a changed life then you are deceived and you are not going to be in the kingdom. You are on the broad way that leads to destruction.

The words of an engraving from the cathedral of Lubeck, Germany, beautifully reflect our Lord’s teaching here:

Thus speaks Christ our Lord to us, You call Me master and obey Me not, you call Me light and see Me not, you call Me the way and walk Me not, you call Me life and live Me not, you call Me wise and follow Me not, you call Me fair and love me not, you call Me rich and ask Me not, you call Me eternal and seek Me not, if I condemn thee, blame Me not.

II. Hearing without Doing (Foolish Man, Sand) vv. 24-27
Our Lord now expands on the danger of the coming judgment with a brief illustration. This is the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount. This illustration brings together all Jesus has said up to this point.

In this section the emphasis is upon hearing, whereas in the previous section the emphasis is upon saying. This is an illustration of the contrast between those who hear and obey and those who hear without obeying. Although there are several similarities, there is one crucial difference.

BOTH BUILD (involved in religious work, active)
BOTH BUILD IN SAME AREA (same block, same church, Bible studies, true Christians are side by side with the deceived, i.e. wheat and tares)
BOTH BUILD IN THE SAME WAY (buildings looked the same, only difference is in the foundation which was invisible till the storm came)

FOUNDATIONS (Rock vs. Sand) Petra does not mean a stone or even a boulder, but a great outcropping of rock, a large expanse of bedrock. It is solid, stable, and unmovable. Sand, by contrast, is loose, unstable, and extremely moveable.

But the wise man builds his house upon a rock. The rock spoken of here is God’s Word. Jesus said, whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them. Building on the rock is the equivalent of obeying God’s Word.

In Matthew 16, Peter confessed, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God” and Jesus said, “flesh and blood did not reveal this to you , but My Father who is in heaven. And I say unto you that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church.” This rock is the same rock of Matthew 7:24-25. It is the bedrock of God’s Word, His Divine revelation. It is the Divine revelation such as was given to Peter by the Father and is the only rock on which the Christian life can be built.

EASY VS. HARD (quick results, quick evangelism)
Differences are only seen when the storm comes. The storm with its rain, floods and winds sum up God’s final judgment. Those who have built on anything other than the Lord Jesus Christ will be utterly destroyed. Those who have built upon faith in Christ and His Word will be spared on the day of Judgment. The message Jesus is proclaiming is clear, Judgement is coming!!!!! It will then be painfully obvious to all which foundation you have built upon.

The only validation you will ever have of your salvation is a life of obedience to Christ. Not a date or an experience, but your obedience to Christ is the only way to know you’re saved.

The book of 1 John was written so we could know that we have eternal life. Listen to what John said in 1 John 2:17 “He who does the will of God abides for ever.” Similarly James 1:22 says it this way, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

At the end of the sermon, the crowd was “astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (vv. 28-29).

But there isn’t a response of faith. Many seemed only to watch and listen the same as in our day. They made no decision and by not deciding they decided to stay on the broad road which leads to destruction.

It is that very sort of thinking that keeps many people out of the kingdom: the price is more than they want to pay. They want their sins forgiven, they want to go to heaven, they don’t want to go to hell, but they don’t want Jesus messing with their lives!

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A New book from Fr. Rudy :
Short review of the book: This book is an out come of a serious exegetical study on the important words and texts from the writings of St John of the Cross. The study deals with a short life and writings of the mystic and then does a complete study on GOD, MAN and WAYS to EXPERIENCE GOD. The book is available at: St. Joseph Church, Near Holy Cross Convent School, Mira Road East, Thane Dt. Maharashtra State - 401 107, India. Books can be ordered through email: or

The cost of the book is Rs. 125/- pp.xviii + 234, The Title of the Book is: THE DYNAMISM OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH - An Exegetical Study on St. John of the Cross, author: Dr. Rudolf V. D' Souza, OCD, MA. PhD.

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